Melvin Beitscher grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and was first exposed to the world of vacuums in the 1930's while watching his father sell Electrolux cleaners door to door. When WWII interrupted the lives of all Americans, Mel became an Air force flight instructor for B17, B24 & B29 aircraft. When the war ended, he retired from the Air Force with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Following in his father's footsteps, Mel began tinkering, rebuilding and reselling at retail those vacuums he could manage to find, or make, replacement parts for. While eking out a meager living, Mel kept up another of his passions by flying in the reserves and even doing a brief stint with United Airlines as a commercial pilot.
But, as they say, vacuum cleaners were in his blood, and, deciding to settle in Denver in the mid-fifties, Mel made vacuum cleaners his paycheck. As Mel explains it, his big break came when he convinced the president of Interstate Engineering to finance 12 "Revelations". He was off and running. At that time, there was no authorized parts distribution system from any manufacturer and precious little available from a bojacker standpoint. In the early 60's, Mel embarked on a campaign to get the manufacturers of the day to set him up as a parts wholesaler. Lamb, Eureka and Hoover concluded it was a good idea, and the other names of the day were soon to follow: AJ Weinstein, Studley, Tube Form, CWP, and Kirby to name a few. As the availability of parts increased, Mel traveled throughout the west in his Bonanza airplane, calling on the rebuilders he could find. In 1963, Mel became the first in the industry to computerize, buying a computer programmed in FORTRAN. In 1971, Mel decided to go strictly wholesale, buying a new modern warehouse, replete with fork lifts and a new 180mg Perkin-Elmer computer. More OEM's signed up, including some that allowed Mel to wholesale their finished goods to the increasing number of Independent Vacuum Stores that were now springing up throughout the country. Throughout the next 15 years, Mel grew his business with innovation, aggressiveness, and sheer determination, garnering "the 1st wholesale distributor to do" in any number of categories, always with the Independent Vacuum Service Center in mind.
Melvin Beitscher sold Star For Parts in late 1985. Retirement would be the wrong definition when describing Mel's golden years. He continues to call on longtime customers in California, where he and his wife Carol reside. He still flies, he still skis, and he still cracks a rib or two windsurfing. The industry benefited immensely from the efforts of Mel Beitscher during the previous millennium, and in all likelihood, will continue to do so in the coming years. Congratulations Melvin!
2001 Vacuum Hall of Fame Inductee